Come one, Come all! Houseguests Officially Welcome!

Hello!  At long last, it is finally time to fling open our doors to a procession of guests!  Summer has officially begun.  Friends, family- come one, come all!


Like many of us, I spent the entire “annus horribilus” scheming home renovations and upgrades.  We did a major reno a few short years ago and my biggest regret is that while we made our small house bigger, we didn’t make it quite big enough!  Though there are ample places to “crash”- a couple of large sofas and a pull-out occupying my office, we lack a proper guest room.  While I plot our next reno/larger home of the future, I’m fortunately able to design other people’s dream homes in real time.  Pictured above is a cozy little guest room which is currently in the works, and a few considerations to guarantee happy houseguests!
  1. A super comfortable Saatva Organic Mattress (also inexpensive, no toxins, order online and they arrive straight to the door)
  2. Matteo Linens make seriously yummy bedding. I also love Boll & Branch, no more scratchy sheets!
  3. Duo-Core Comfort Pillows by Serta– firm on one side/cushy on the other- a crowd pleaser!
  4. Fanimation makes really cute “not your Home Depot” fans like the lucite and brass one above.  They also make fandeliers now, which are also an attractive option.
  5. Choose black out shades for your window treatments to diminish light streaming in from the outside.
  6. Limit the blue lights of Wi-Fi and television if possible.  They disrupt REM.  Also, loud ticking clocks are no fun!
  7. But, we always need Wi-Fi so it’s a nice touch to leave your network and password printed out, or even framed bedside for your guests.
  8. A place to fling open your suitcase- tuck a standard luggage rack in the closet, or choose a nice foot-of-the-bed option (as above)
  9. A spare set of keys for your guests and a list of local recommendations is always nice to share.
  10. My very masculine uncle used to leave a basket of towels & mini toiletries in a basket on the bed (he admitted he learned that little trick from Oprah and I like it!)
There!  No more sleepless nights in your household!  Need help making your guest space cool and comfortable?
Book a consultation with me and we will tailor it for overnight guest IRL- hooray!!

Business Unusual

Now that we have all had time to Kondo our closet, organize the family photos, work though that 1500 piece jigsaw puzzle, binge watch Netflix, and drop off the Goodwill donations, perhaps you have started looking around you home and thinking of home improvement projects for the future.  Your home office may need better lighting and a comfier chair.  As does that cozy reading nook the kids have been homeschooling from.  Maybe you’ve been cooking more impressive meals and enjoying them in that previously underused dining room. Is it time for some much needed window treatments and an irresistible new wall covering in there?
While it’s definitely not business as usual over here, much of what interior designers do is researched, planned, sampled and sourced online.  As long as there is an internet I’d be delighted to help you breath some life into your loving and supportive home.  A fully flushed out design plan will leave you hopeful, and all the more excited for our return to normalcy.  Here is an example of a recent Finishing Touches eDesign I did for a client’s master bathroom.
Please let me know how I can help you sort out any future projects!
P.S. (really long P.S.)
I sincerely hope you and your family are staying well.  We have been taking lots of Vitamin C, D, and getting lots fresh air (in our woefully small backyard), along with lots of good rest.  While I’m now a part-time homeschooler, I’ve found it has been pretty gratifying watching my little rosebud begin to read!  While taking this very seriously, I’ve also been trying to limit my exposure to the news because fear depresses the immune system and we all need to protect our calm, now more than ever!
I was chatting with my girlfriend the other day and told her this all reminds me of Emily’s goodbye at the end of Thornton Wilder’s, “Our Town.”  (Anyone, anyone?)
“Let’s really look at one another!….It goes so fast.  We don’t have time to look at one another.  I didn’t realize.  Saw all that was going on and we never noticed…Wait!…one more look.  Good-bye world, Mama and Papa, clocks ticking…and Mama’s sunflowers.   And food and coffee.  And new ironed dresses and hot baths…and sleeping and waking up.  Oh Earth, you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you.  Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it–every, every minute?”  
She told me to stop being so dark!
I suppose it is dark, but I’ve always felt it was more about being grateful for life, and it seems ever more relevant now.  The world has changed forever in a matter of a few short weeks.  We have left the comfort of our relatively easy, painless lives. Every one of us has lost something, albeit (hopefully) short term, but for the first time our expectations and our privileges have been revoked, and a great many are already suffering far greater losses- both physically & financially.
But one day this crisis will end, and when it does I can’t imagine we won’t all be truly happier and more grateful people.  Perhaps we will have less sense of entitlement, and realistically manage our high expectations.  Maybe we will focus more on the good and stop manifesting problems when there really are none.  For myself and my children, I can only hope any pain endured during this experience leads to a greater appreciation of life in general.  I like to imagine we will be more like my Grandmother’s generation- she grew up during the Great Depression and birthed and raised four kids between my Grandfather’s WWII and Korean War deployments.  Much like the rest of her generation she was almost almost always happy.  Difficult times make us stronger and we will be happier when life returns to normal.
So we made it to April- we are all here… and there’s one silver lining.  Hope springs eternal!  Come on Spring!!!

The Untrendy Guide to What’s Cool in Kitchen & Bath

The Kitchen & Bath Industry Showcase (KBIS) is the largest tradeshow in North America, and I was lucky enough to attend last month in Las Vegas.  Being it’s the size of -Lord knows how many- football fields and packed to the gills with exhibits, it’s quite the whirlwind.  I’ve finally had some time to digest (and get 1,200 emails from vendors thanking me for stopping by) and wanted to share some of my lasting insights, products and favorite vendors from the show.

What I loved most was all the subtle earthy tones and textures represented.  I’m an Earth sign, and though ashamedly more of an “indoor girl,” I am most at peace when surrounded by nature and a palette of soothing natural tones, stones, textures, and the handmade. 

While a good manmade quartz countertop still holds more aesthetic appeal to me than say an overly grainy granite, I was really drawn to the natural stones and the improved quartz offerings that look like marble.  My countertop fave was this particular style from Cosentino Dekton ,“Laurent,” it’s a jaw dropper.  It isn’t on the market yet (hence the crappy iphone photo) but trust me it’s luscious.  I stopped by more than once to run my hand over the smooth suede finish.

 The entire Antolini exhibit made me want to rethink my entire kitchen….maybe I am more glam than Earthy!

Recognizing the All White Kitchen will never go out of style there is so much beauty to be had with color and texture especially those that hint at nature’s subtleties.  Like the soothing warmth and depth of cabinets in natural walnut, or a good hand-painted rich hue like this kitchen from St. Charles New York, with their proprietary built-in hinges.

Those handmade creations that are consistent, yet one-of-a-kind from Native Trails also stood out, and they too feel great to the touch- like this Native Stone Tub made of a sustainable blend of eco-friendly concrete that is both lightweight and super stain resistant.

And I never tire of the Native Trails signature hammered copper farmhouse sinks.

This faucet is very much on the industrial side but I just love it!  The California Faucets Steampunk Bay – Who can resist it’s durable lines?  It reminds me of the inner workings of a Swiss time piece.

The Krauss booth debuted a fun, color changing faucet that lets you know when it’s hot to the touch.  It was more impressive than it sounds, but so new they wouldn’t even let us snap a photo.  Bridge faucets with pull-downs were also everywhere and I am already a big fan!  We have one of these Elkays in our house and I love it!

Image result for krauss bridge faucet with pull down


If you know me well enough you’re probably aware that I’m not the tech savviest of gals.  I can barely work the remote and it’s not because I’m that old (!).  I just never much cared for it.  Just a low tech girl, living in a high tech world!  I particularly don’t like Alexa knowing my business (unless it’s my dearest friend, Alexa).   It’s bad enough that I can simply think of something and have an advertisement for it arrive in my inbox within seconds, so I personally don’t want to own a “Smart House.”  Nevertheless, I can totally appreciate that Jetson’s style homes are not only here, they’ve damn well perfected them!

“A Smart Home,” sets your perfect water temp & pressure & queues up your favorite smooth jazz before you step into the shower.  You can of course, pre-heat your home, and your oven without the touch of a button, and there are even new options like ranges with touchscreen apps that can have the most undesirable cooks serving up bites of heaven. I was very impressed with master chef functionality of the Fisher & Paykel 48” Dual Fuel Professional Range.  (I believe this range won the top appliance award of the week.)

I also love the built-in sous vide functionality of the new 48″ range from Signature Kitchen Suite.  The demo was oddly mesmerizing and the filet & chicken tastings were perfection.  Evidently guys really dig this sous-vide cooking thing!  My husband has already asked for one.

Also, GE has really stepped it up from their days of supplying the 55+ older communities with their new Monogram line.  This range is really a looker!  Again, please pardon the crappy iphone photos!

Also, GE’s Café Line is darling!  With its endless base and hardware tones (no more stainless steel only) it is totally on trend and works in a variety of kitchen styles.

Lastly, I loved the European premium Power Cooling line from Liebherr.  Maybe it was that their booth was mysteriously quiet, and I found myself hanging out there alone with ze Germans, in a moment of peace from the great masses, but in that time I discovered everything from integrated columns to wine cabinets and undercounter options for sleek, long-lasting, high performance power refrigeration.  Now that’s cool!